Petone Wharf

Image of petone wharf with beach in the distance banner image

Consultation is now open on Council’s Draft 10 Year Plan - Have your say on the way ahead  for three key Petone assets.

Petone Wharf has been an iconic feature of the foreshore since 1909 and while it has not been used for shipping activities for some time, it has been well-loved by recreational users and beach goers.

The Wharf was damaged in the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and repaired and reopened in 2017. It was closed again in January 2021 after suffering earthquake damage which compromised the structure, and has remained closed to the public since. Read our statement from 2021.

Previous Councils and the current Council have pushed out budget and decisions on Petone Wharf a number of times due to affordability challenges and higher priorities, and the impact on rates and debt.

Council had previously agreed to proceed with the Petone Wharf rebuild as part of the Hutt City Council’s Long Term Plan 2021/31 and budgeted $21million for the project. Council commissioned a report to consider rebuild options and in May 2022 received the Petone Wharf Future Options Report. Council agreed to progress options 2, 3 and 4 in the report to more detailed design and costings. When the costings came back in January 2023, none could be delivered within the project’s allocated budget.

As part of decision-making for the 2023/24 Annual Plan, on 20 December 2022 Council agreed to defer the budget ($23.9million once inflated) to 2029/30 - 2031/32 to help manage financial pressures at the time. Council also agreed that the project would be reconsidered as a part of the Draft Long Term Plan 2024, in the context of all priorities.

To support this work Council established a Steering Group which oversaw two community workshops on Petone projects. Most feedback from the workshops recognised that the increased cost and limited amenity value meant that retaining the full wharf is no longer the best use of a significant investment in Petone.  A number of alternate ways to provide coastal amenity and social, cultural and economic value were identified in the workshop report.

While conscious of community sentiment towards the Wharf, Council has had to consider the project in the context of the current financial challenges and competing priorities. It has considered many factors including:

  • As an asset, the Wharf is in poor condition and is vulnerable to storms and seismic damage. If rebuilt, even in part, the remaining structure would continue to be a vulnerable structure and would require significant ongoing investment for inspection, maintenance and, most significantly, further renewals.
  • Many of the piles are in poor condition and replacing these has potential to become a significant and difficult issue from consent and cost perspectives.
  • The cost of rebuilding parts of the wharf will have increased further, as the costings were done in 2022 and the wharf has continued to deteriorate. As previous wharf projects have shown, projects to renew coastal structures are particularly risky and prone to budget increases.
  • As is reflected in Council’s Draft Asset Management Policy, eventually built assets reach end of life and if their core functionality is no longer required, it is difficult to justify the community investment to renew them. The wharf is not considered a lifeline structure from an emergency management perspective. Neither Greater Wellington Regional Council nor the East by West Ferry operator intend to operate commuter services from the Wharf.

In the Draft Long Term Plan Council has decided not to fund a rebuild of the Wharf and instead to focus on investing in critical water and transport infrastructure and resilience projects. It is also proposing a $10million redevelopment of the Petone Library building to make it more resilient and enable it to provide greater amenity to the community.

Read the detailed conservation report.